Healthy teeth and gums aren’t a luxury. They’re essential. That’s because our dental health has an impact on our overall health and neglecting one can negatively impact the other.

North Carolina, like many states, struggle to maintain optimal oral health care for all of its residents, and because of this need, several stakeholders across the state came together with the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation in May 2013 under a planning grant from the DentaQuest Foundation to develop a formal infrastructure and strategy to engage in open dialogue as it relates to oral health policies, programs and financing priorities. This diverse group of partners named themselves the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC) and came together in October 2013 for its first full stakeholder meeting.


March, 2013: Submitted Application to DentaQuest Foundation for Planning Grant- NC Foundation for Advanced Health Programs as lead/backbone organization.

October, 2013: First Stakeholder Convening, Chapel Hill NC.

December, 2014: Submitted Application for Implementation Funding. Adjusted focus to be broader than just medical/dental collaboration via partnership with Community Care of NC.

Fall 2014: Presented basics of oral health to 780 congregants in partnership with the NC Council of Churches.

November, 2014: NCOHC Director resigned. This prompted a review and re-focus of NCOHC’s work moving forward.

January 28-29, 2015: Direction Setting Meeting- Facilitated by Interaction Institute for Social Change. Leadership team tasked with developing purpose, mission and guiding principles.

4/1/15: Direction Setting & Action Planning Meeting- Facilitated by Interaction Institute for Social Change. Workgroups formed.

5/27-29/15: South/Southeast Regional DentaQuest Foundation Convening

8/3/15: New Director (Zulayka Santiago) began tenure.

10/30/15: Full Stakeholder Convening (WakeMed Cary).

12/10/15: Collaborative Acceleration Team Meeting/1 st Policy Discussion

April 18-20, 2016: National Oral Health Conference, Cincinnati, OH

April 27-29, 2016: NC Dental Public Health Conference, Wrightsville Beach

May 18-20, 2016: DentaQuest Foundation Regional Convening, Atlanta, GA

5/13/16: NCOHC Full Stakeholder Convening.

6/8/16: Strategy Session I (Policy Focused)

7/7/16: Strategy Session II (Communications Focused)

9/23/16: Oral Health Fall Summit (co-hosted with UNC School of Public Health)

10/7/16: Teledentistry/Paul Glassman Event

10/27-10/28, 2016: DentaQuest Foundation National Gathering

Fall 2016/Winter 2017: Capacity-Building Grantees conducted 13 focus groups across the state.

1/17/17: Piloted the Oral Health Equity Curriculum

4/5/17: NC’s 1 st Oral Health Day at the Legislature: Over 100 committed individuals made the journey to our statelegislature in Raleigh to deliver an important message: Oral health is part of overall health.  It is time to resolve the barriers to care that prevent North Carolinians from accessing the oral health care they need.

6/28/17: Released Portrait of Oral Health

July 11-13, 2017: DQF South/Southeast Regional Gathering, Austin, TX

9/7/17: Hosted Conversation with Mary Otto (author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality & the Struggle for Oral Health In America”)